Why, you may ask?
Because I have taken it upon myself to bring to your attention several things I do NOT want you thinking about this month. During Speedbo you should switch off your internal editor (your personal Grammar Queen, if you will) and try NOT to worry about such things as:
1. Misplaced modifiers.
Incorrect: Audra almost reads every romance novel she finds.
Correct: Audra reads almost every romance novel she finds.
2. Dangling participles.
Incorrect: Revising her manuscript, Cara’s computer died.
Correct: Cara’s computer died while she was revising her manuscript.
Observation: Perchance Cara should consider replacing her computer.
3. Subject/verb agreement.
Incorrect: I will ask if Debby or Glynna have a copy of the latest Romantic Times.
Correct: I will ask if Debby or Glynna has a copy of the latest Romantic Times.
4. Proper comma placement.
Incorrect: Janet made it to the book signing on time but, she forgot her pen.
Correct: Janet made it to the book signing on time, but she forgot her pen.
5. Restrictive/nonrestrictive elements.
Incorrect: Julie called her agent Natasha for advice.
Correct: Julie called her agent, Natasha, for advice.
Observation: Julie knows Natasha is always right.
6. Comma splices.
Incorrect: Mary had Alaskan salmon for lunch, she said it was great.
Correct: Mary had Alaskan salmon for lunch. She said it was great.
7. Misused words.
Incorrect: Missy had a headache and laid down to rest.
Correct: Missy had a headache and lay down to rest.
Observation: Actually, GQ believes this is Mary’s headache and lays all the blame on her.
8. Misused apostrophes.
Incorrect: Myra patted the cute doggy on it’s head.
Correct: Myra patted the cute doggy on its head.
9. When and when not to spell out numbers.
Incorrect: There are 8 cows grazing in Pam’s front yard.
Correct: There are eight cows grazing in Pam’s front yard.
Observation: Apparently, Pam does not need either a lawn mower or fertilizer, although 16 cows would be even more . . . er, productive.
10. Ambiguous antecedents.
Incorrect: Ruthy’s editor told her she should work more efficiently.
Correct: Ruthy’s editor told her, “Work more efficiently!” --OR--
Correct: Ruthy’s editor told her, “I should work more efficiently.”
Observation: Obviously, both these corrected statements are pure fiction.
11. Pronoun/antecedent agreement.
Incorrect: Every one of Sandra’s books has their own special appeal.
Correct: Every one of Sandra’s books has its own special appeal.
12. Subjunctive mood.
Incorrect: Tina wishes Grammar Queen was less intrusive during Speedbo.
Correct: Tina wishes Grammar Queen were less intrusive during Speedbo.
Observation: Grammar Queen is not going away, people! Get used to it!
So there you have it, Grammar Queen’s compendium of things NOT to think about this month. Of course, there are myriad other grammatical details you should also NOT be thinking about, but far be it from me to distract you from your valiant Speedbo efforts.
However, when April 1 arrives, beware!
And that, dear students, is no April Fool’s joke.
Myra here. So sorry. Really. I do my best to keep GQ locked in her closet, but she keeps stealing the key and letting herself out. Just when I’m on a roll with my word count, she thrusts Chicago Manual of Style in my face.
However, she asked me to appease all her admirers (just go with it, okay?) by announcing her offer of a 10-page (double-spaced) GRAMMAR/USAGE ONLY critique to one lucky (?) commenter. Yes, GQ will help you polish your prose in preparation for a contest entry or manuscript submission. Pages must be received no later than May 31, or GQ can’t promise a quick turnaround.
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